The Law Offices of Ross Green is happy to announce another victory in the appellate courts. On February 11, 2013, the Appellate Division of the Alameda County Superior Court reversed two traffic convictions. While these cases were just traffic matters, the principles upheld by the Appellate Court are important to every citizen.
In both of these matters, the driver had a medical emergency and did not make his court date. Instead of resetting the trials to a time that appellant could be present, the court unfairly held the trial in absentia and appellant was convicted. A defendant in a criminal cause has the right under the Constitution to be personally present with counsel. (Cal. Const., Art. I, Section 15). Similarly, the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as made obligatory on the states by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, gives the accused the right to be present in the courtroom at every stage of the trial. (Illinois v. Allen (1970) 397 US 337). Based on these constitutional violations, the convictions were overturned.
This type of unfair treatment is not unusual in the traffic courts. Traffic Commissioners are often overburden with the number of cases and will seek the most expedient solution, even at the sake of the Constitution. Often times, this conduct goes unchecked as traffic defendants do not have the resources, or wherewithal, to fight these matters up to the appellate courts. Today’s victory is important to all drivers, as it puts a check on traffic judges who believe they do not need to follow the law merely because these cases do not get as much scrutiny as misdemeanors or felonies. The oversight may be less, but the ramifications of higher insurance rates or suspended licenses, have a real impact to the average driver.
For questions related to red light camera tickets, speeding tickets or other DMV matters, please visit The Law Offices of Ross Green.